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First Video of What Appears to be Black Box; Putin Faces Growing Pressure Over Crash; Brief Cease-Fire Halts Gaza Fighting

Aired July 20, 2014 - 07:00   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome. So glad to have you with us.

Breaking news to tell you about, we're getting our first pictures of what appears to be the black box from Malaysian Flight 17.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We have new video in of what appears to be a searcher picking up the black box, that orange thing, it's actually orange there. This video was taken two days ago.

There has been a lot of concern and confusion really over what happened to the black box, one of them we see here. There are actually two: flight data recorder and the digital voice recorder.

It's hoped that it can reveal of course more about what happened when Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot out of the sky. We know that you see it here, that that, again, happened two days ago. Who has it?

PAUL: Has it been examined?

BLACKWELL: And why haven't we heard about the collection, the recovery of the black box over the last 48 hours? Of course questions that I'm sure the international community leaders from all over the world will be asking.

Do we have Mary Schiavo on the phone? Can we go straight to her?

PAUL: We do.


BLACKWELL: OK, we've got her in front of the camera. Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst. Your first reaction as we see this video. Apparently, Ukrainian officials have this black box.

Your thoughts?

SCHIAVO: Well, that's good that it's been found. It's apparently was -- they are in the tail section so that suggests to me that was indeed the tail was blown off and the black boxes were recovered from that section. You know, the biggest question is when were they recovered and where have they been and why are we just hearing this news now? But, fortunately, it sounds like the authorities that have them

in Ukraine know you can't just open them up. You have to be careful on the download and you preserve the evidence so that's good news and it's good news that they are found because they will reveal pretty much everything about the last moments or minutes of the flight including very much like KAL-007. In that case, the ordnance, the missile, blew off, damaged the tail and made the plane uncontrollable, but it still continued to fly, had both engines and there was some recording on the cockpit voice recorder in addition to the data recorder after the strike.

So, it will contain myriad amounts of information -- about 1,000 different kinds of parameters that it records.

PAUL: Mary, you mentioned that it takes time and it's a delicate process to get that information off of the black box. But how long -- usually, on a general basis would it take?

SCHIAVO: Oh, it doesn't. In the right hands, and there are only a few agencies I trust with it. You know, obviously, the NTSB, the AAIB of Australia, the BEA France, the British authorities, they can all do it, you know? And they have the expertise to do it.

I probably would not trust others at this point, and certainly neither Ukraine or Russia to do the proper download. But once you do, once you have the equipment and the proper equipment, it doesn't take long. It's a computer download and you just bring down the data.

What take as long time is then you print it out and you look at the data and you have to analyze it? There is so much data now because of an advanced plane with an advanced black box that you will have parameters, everything from -- you know, engine controls, flight controls, setting, any announcements made on the cockpit voice recorder, anything that was recorded even if the pilots had awareness that they had, had an ordnance strike, if they continued to fly and know what was happening from moments, or even minutes afterwards, that's all on there.

BLACKWELL: So, Mary, we're learning about this two days after it happened because "Reuters" is now releasing this video over the last two or three days, we've heard from not only the Ukrainian officials but the Malaysian officials, actually the transport minister said that he had no information, no confirmation of where the black boxes are or who had them if they had been recovered.

What is your experience tell you about that statement? Does that seem like something that an airline would purposely not be honest about? Or, is it quite possible that he had no idea that the Ukrainians had recovered the box?

SCHIAVO: Well, I think he said that to Richard Quest the night before last and I was there when he did. It seemed a little bit intentionally evasive. So it was Ukrainian minister, not the airline that actually had that or had possession of it. At that point, I doubt that the airline knew it. But, you know, another thing I have to point out is that there

actually is an owner of these things at the crash site. It's technically owned by the airline and at this point probably the airline's insurance company.

So, you know, in addition to the fact they will have to get the data off and somebody owns all of this stuff. You can't just cart it off. So, it's good that Ukrainians have it. It's bad that it's not in the right hands yet to be analyzed and hopefully they will make sure that it gets in the right hands to have it analyzed and not in any way attempt to download or distort any data.

BLACKWELL: All right.

PAUL: All right. Can a black box, quickly, can it be compromised easily?

BLACKWELL: Oh, yes. If you don't open it and do the download correctly you could destroy or harm the data. And then, of course, once the data is downloaded, usually what you work off of is a printout. You print out these parameters and it looks like -- almost like an EKG, to put it in kind of layman's terms. It's like an EKG for the plane and you have long running tallies of data and lists of data, you know, numbers really from the different things that it records on the plane.

And so, if you wanted to you know, not release anything like for example the cockpit voice recorder, if it will clearly show, I think it will show that they made no attempt to contact the plane or identify it and find out if it was a civilian plane beforehand, so there will be an absence of that kind of information. And on the data recording, you know, if they wanted to change parameters once you do the printout somebody could do that.

They do have to preserve the -- at least in the United States, they do have to preserve that original equipment because as I mentioned, technically, it belongs to the airline.

PAUL: All right. Mary Schiavo, thank you so much.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And we happen to have one here on the desk if we can show it. I mean, after Flight 370, after the months that search continued, we have one here. And this is as Mary described, has all of the technical information.

In the video, you really can't get a close-up look on what that man is carrying but this is one of those flight data recorders, there is this one, there's also the digital voice recorder. One would call it the black boxes. Back in the '60s when that term was coined, it was because there wasn't a lot known about technology and they were called black boxes because they thought there was some black magic inside, something that could record all of this information.

But you see what's in that video, much like what we have here live on set, and could hold the answers to the last technical moments of Flight MH17.

PAUL: Let's go to CNN's Phil Black at the crash scene in Eastern Ukraine right now.

BLACKWELL: Phil, we're hearing about bodies being loaded onto these refrigerated train cars nearby. Walk us through what's going on where you are right now, and how this compares to what we saw an hour ago when we saw those militants standing right behind you at that orange and white tape.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On that point, they are still there, they are around the other side of the vehicle you see behind me. They are still policing the line, still not letting anyone beyond that point. When you came to me an hour or so ago, it was the point they had drink at any media beyond that line. The situation is relaxed a little bit now but I can tell you the men with the AK-47s are still there.

Elsewhere on the ground, we've seen significant change in the last 24 hours. When dawn broke yesterday morning, we were surrounded by bodies still in these fields. Since then, all of those visible bodies have been packed up and taken away. The Ukrainian government says they recovered 196 bodies. They have been taken as you say to a refrigeration car attached to a train at a town a short distance from here.

The next destination for the bodies is still unclear. I have to say, we heard that they are going to be kept locally, when experts arrive and begin this investigation properly, the search for the remaining victims is still going on. At the point where the biggest pieces of wreckage had what were clearly the largest impact, where there was clearly a great fire, we can see emergency workers there now still going through there, trying to find what remains they can.

Otherwise, we can still see lots of volunteers, fanning out through these fields involved in this search, looking for those remaining victims. So, it is an improvement in terms of the restriction to the site, which will concern I think some of -- will answer some of the international concerns and also in terms of dealing with those bodies, getting them out of the sun and in refrigeration where they can be stored more appropriately and examined, that is something that will no doubt be of some consolation to the families of these victims, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Phil, I know that you may have been listening to us talk earlier. "Reuters" just releasing this video that appears to show a recovered black box found by rescue workers. This video that was shot two days ago, wondering if you are hearing any rumblings about where it might be or whose hands it's in at this point.

BLACK: On the ground here and when we're listening to the leadership of the pro-Russian rebel groups that control this territory, they are based in Donetsk, the main city, a short distance from here action, they insisted they don't know where it is. Their official line all along has been that they have not interfered with the site, the wreckage, the victims. That's the official line from these pro-Russian rebels.

We know that here on the ground, it's been a little bit different.

So, in terms of the location of those cockpit voice and data recorders -- no, we don't know where they are. No one here is talking about them. No one that we spoke (AUDIO GAP) is claimed to have spoken about them or know where they are. We know of the same claim that has been coming from the Ukrainian government, a little ambiguously, and that is that they believe that they are still somewhere on Ukrainian territory.

PAUL: All right. Thank you so much, Phil Black. We appreciate it.

I want to go to CNN's Diana Magnay right now. She's in Moscow.

BLACKWELL: Diana, how Russia responding to this growing pressure and we're seeing statement after statement being released about Russia and its need to do something about these rebels at the crash site?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right. They have been, there is more and more pressure from world leaders on Mr. Putin. David Cameron, U.K. prime minister, just tweeted that he and Chancellor Merkel of Germany had had conversation and that they are very concerned about the limited access to the site and that Mr. Putin must do more, he says in that tweet.

But Russia's position has been pretty much to stand back and say, we want some independent investigation, which we will contribute to in any way that we can, but this is fundamentally Kiev's responsibility. And if you look at the newspapers, for example, here, there were all sorts of lines about how this was probably an active, it was probably the Kiev military, Ukrainian military who were responsible for shooting this plane down. But perhaps it was even that they were trying to bring down Mr. Putin's play, and that is one line that you'll hear in the media.

So, you k now, the argument from the U.S. is that Mr. Putin must bring his influence to bear on the pro-Russian separatists, so that he opens the site to international investigators and that he uses his influence and reach some kind of peaceful solution to this conflict that is now its eight months and just getting worse and worse.

Mr. Putin hasn't really rode his influence on the rebels in any meaningful way, to bring about the resolution of this conflict to date. And it's questionable about whether he will now. Now, though, you have many, many more countries internationally turning to him and saying do something.

So, the pressure is on. That said, he knows that the Russian economy is so bound up with the global economy, and sanctions to date have not been all that tough, that you know, he can risk the global international pressure and that they won't strike really, really hard against Russia and he still has very strong populous support.

PAUL: All right. Diana Magnay live for us there in Moscow -- Diana, thank you for the latest this morning.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Diana.

And CNN will have more about the multinational investigation into the crash of MH17. Secretary of State John Kerry will join Candy Crowley on "STATE OF THE UNION" today at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

PAUL: Boy, it's been a relentless round of shelling in Gaza overnight, forcing thousands to flee, clogging hospitals and morgues. CNN's Ben Wedeman calling it a scene of complete pandemonium. We're going to take you there, next.


BLACKWELL: Wow, imagine living here and this going on hour after hour, because after many hours of constant shelling and bombing, there was a brief cease-fire, also called a humanitarian pause for this effort, happening right now in the Gaza Strip.

PAUL: Israeli military says it will take a two-hour break at the request of the Red Cross so the group can reach the dead and wounded in a neighborhood to the east of Gaza City.

BLACKWELL: And this is what people there have been dealing with, the Red Cross especially, with the aftermath of more than 15 hours of shelling and bombing. At least 40 people were killed overnight. And that number could grow as the Red Cross heads in.

PAUL: CNN correspondent Karl Penhaul is inside Gaza City right now.

Wondering, Karl, if you can feel the relief over the cease-fire announcement. Is the cease-fire only for that particular neighborhood or is this Gaza as a whole?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we can't speak of any relief at all here, Christi. Civilians here are absolutely shell-shocked. This cease-fire is now by my calculation about 45 minutes in. It has another hour and 15 to run. It is just for one neighborhood, a large neighborhood of eastern Gaza.

If you look over my shoulder, though, that neighborhood right now is on fire. You can see plumes of smoke coming up from that neighborhood.

Why have they called a brief cease-fire there, because according to medical staff and to the ambulance men, there are dead, there are wounded still trapped under the rubble there. They need time, they need a lull in this shelling, they need a lull in the bombs to get to the dead and also if they can get to any casualties who may still be alive under the rubble, to pull them out before they bleed out. But no relief at all.

We were down there this morning just after first light as thousands of civilians with few possessions in their hands at all, basically the clothes on their backs, fleeing for their lives. They were literally trying to cling to life, looking for any way out. Some were crammed into cars, others on foot, some of them not even wearing sandals. Others were riding on donkey carts to get out.

A man we asked he said to us that through the night he heard the houses all around his own being pounded by Apache helicopters, being pounded by tanks, being pounded by strikes from the F-16s. But this morning at first light was the first time he dared to venture out.

I talked to another man fleeing with 40 members of his extended family but said to me, he said, my mother said that she would stay behind. She said, "Save yourselves. I will stay in the house. I will die here."

Another man down at the morgue, you didn't have to understand Arabic to understand his pain. He said that he had seen a missile slammed into his mother and into his brother. It's literally a human tide fleeing from eastern Gaza right now, Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Karl, you watched more than a few of these rescue efforts and you mentioned there are wounded beneath this rubble two hours may not be enough time to rescue the people who need rescue.

Is there any indication that the neighborhood that has this humanitarian pause as it's called, will be hit as it was overnight again as soon as this two hours ends?

PENHAUL: I believe there is every indication that it is, the Israeli military certainly took to targeting this neighborhood. It is looking for Hamas rocket-launchers in that area. They say that they also are looking for tunnels in that area. They certainly have their sights fixed on this neighborhood.

At first, there was a fear maybe that the Israeli military wouldn't agree to this pause. Once one side has a military advantage they really need to push it especially in the type of war that is being fought here in Gaza, what the Israeli military undoubtedly is afraid of is that Hamas could use this two-hour period to withdraw its own fighters, perhaps reposition rockets.

But that really beyond that two hours little likelihood right now of any further cease-fire, and every likelihood that the Shaja'ia neighborhood will once again be targeted. But as I say, it's only that neighborhood. Even as we speak there is artillery fire going on a little further south, not sure if that's coming from tanks or airplanes, but, still, other parts of the Gaza Strip continue to be pounded while one neighborhood at least, the artillery has fallen silent for another hour now -- Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Just a few minutes more. Karl Penhaul for us in Gaza City, thank you so much. And we'll have more on the crisis in Gaza later in the show.

Next hour, Wolf Blitzer will interview Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu live here on CNN. Of course you want to see that.

We'll go to Martin Savidge who is there in Jerusalem later on the show as well.

PAUL: Meanwhile, victims' families are outraged in Amsterdam this morning over what they're calling the botched handling of the crash site of MH17. The mother of one of the victims appealing to Vladimir Putin to bring her son home. Her dramatic voice, next.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Erin McLaughlin is live at Amsterdam's airport where MH17 took off.

PAUL: Erin, we understand that you spoke to a victim's mother who has some strong words for Russian President Putin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Selena Fredericks (ph) was here at the Schiphol Airport just a few hours ago. She was here with her family. She laid flowers and signed a condolence book at the makeshift memorial just over my shoulder that way.

And she told me how she lost her son Bryce, just 20 years old, and his girlfriend Daisy who was 23. They were on board MH17 and she also talked about how she's absolutely horrified at some of the news reports that have been emerging from the crash site in eastern Ukraine. She said that it's a mother's right to be able to bury her son.

And she had a strong message for Russian president Vladimir Putin.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Putin, must take care of my son and my daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who knows where they are. Who knows where the bodies are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can do nothing but wait for their bodies.

MCLAUGHLIN: You have any idea of where your son's body and his girlfriend --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe they took it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe it's there, maybe it's in one piece, maybe thousand pieces.


MCLAUGHLIN: Are government officials telling you anything? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. They don't know. The only thing we

know is from the media. How do they know? The officials don't know. The officials don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can't give us any answer.

MCLAUGHLIN: Must be horrifying for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No doubt about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one bad movie.


MCLAUGHLIN: It's impossible to imagine just how they must be feeling. She also told me how it was she who purchased the tickets, they were on the way to Bali. Daisy's mother had passed away about 2 1/2 months ago and she saw this as a vacation for them, a sort of escape that has only added to this horrendous family tragedy.

PAUL: All right. Erin McLaughlin, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, if Flight MH17 was shot down as many believe, what is the responsibility of Malaysia Airlines? Moving forward? Their responsibility to these families? We'll talk more about that.

Plus, we'll tell you more about the brand new video purported to show MH17's black box, at least one of them. That's next.

PAUL: Also, a hot air balloon crashes and burns as it hits a power line. It's all caught on tape.